the Arapahoe School Shooting Good Guy with gun story is fiction (Feb 13)

In response to a report by Matt MacBradaigh entitled:

Centennial High School Shooting Fast Response Proves NRA Right – Good Guys With Guns Stop Bad Guys

In reality, it was Arapahoe High School located in Centennial Colorado, not “Centennial High School”, which shows you the extent of Mr. MacBradaigh’s research into the incident. There was in fact a relatively fast response, and the incident lasted all of 80 seconds, as reported, but this was not due to a good guy with a gun at all.

The Arapahoe shooting incident was one of around 30 school shootings in the 2 year period since the December 14, 2012 atrocity at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. The Arapahoe shooting doesn’t prove the NRA right in any way, and the good guy with a gun did not stop the bad guy that day.


Guns and ammo left behind at the Samdy HookElementary School
Guns and ammo left behind at the Samdy HookElementary School

The about section at the bottom of Mr. MacBradaigh’s article states:

“Matt is a Christian, Husband, Father, Patriot, and Conservative from the Pacific Northwest. Matt writes about the Second Amendment, Gun Control, Gun Rights, and Gun Policy issues and is published on The Bell Towers, The Brenner Brief, PolicyMic. TavernKeepers, and Vocativ.”

eagle and bannerI don’t get what exactly makes him a Patriot? I wonder what he writes about the 2nd Amendment, and why? The 2nd Amendment is here to stay in America, but we also need to protect the public safety, by government action designed to help try and reduce the number of and the lethality of mass shooting incidents in the future.

First, let me say that having an armed resource officer on site at schools is a good idea, if the community agrees to it and agrees to fund it. But the idea that teachers, staff, and students should all be armed in schools is an insane idea that’s bound to cause more trouble than it prevents or stops. Ending gun-free zones will never end random mass shootings in these zones. I’ll get back to explaining why this is so later.

I will use information from news reports and from the official report on the school shooting to prove my points. Here are the reasons why the idea that a “good guy with a gun” saved the day at Arapahoe High school on December 13, 2013 is a complete fiction:

Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado
Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado

1) Arapahoe High School is a very small high school, which makes carrying out an elaborate shooting plan highly problematic.

2) The Administration, the targeted teacher, the shooter’s parents, the Vice Principal, and all the shooter’s teachers were already aware that the shooter, Karl Halverson Pierson, was a problem at school and a threat, had made specific threats of violence and was expected to come into the school and act out in some violent way. That also has something to do with the school being a very small school.

3) Unlike more random shootings, the shooter’s intention was a targeted attack on a specific teacher plus a probable intention to do some additional random killings. When he could not get at his primary target, his plan fell apart.

4) This particular student was described as exactly the type of person who could not plan or carry out such an attack successfully.


Students wait outside by the football field
Students wait outside by the football field

5) Carrying a long weapon, a machete, bandoliers of shotgun shells, and a backpack full of shells made his intentions and his presence in the school obvious. Most shooters aren’t so obvious, until they begin shooting.

6) Karl Halverson was spotted with weapons immediately before he even entered the school. A custodian saw him go through a side door and reported it immediately. In most shooting incidents, there is little or no warning.

7) The armed school resource officer was not the first responder to go into the library and the shooter was dead before he even got near the area.

8) Even though it is reported in Wikipedia and other sources that the armed school resource officer basically saved the day, and was the good guy with a gun who stopped the bad guy with a gun, this story is a fiction with no evidence to back it up. The Wikipedia article was obviously written by somebody with an agenda of the gun-worshipping kind.

Some other, local sources, like the one referenced above, are accurate as to the facts, and give no mention at all indicating a “good guy with a gun”.

Karl Pierson the Arapahoe shooter
Karl Pierson the Arapahoe shooter

Though some sources credit the armed resource officer with preventing the violence from getting out of hand and saving many more people from being killed or injured, and being the main reason that the shooter gave up and committed suicide, none of this is actually true and there’s nothing first hand to suggest that it is.

From the official report of the school shooting at Arapahoe High School (AHS) in Centennial Colorado, known as the “Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office summary Investigative Report”.

A student who knew the shooter with a name given as ‘Redacted’ knew Karl from the debate team. In hindsight, he realized that one day Karl may have been talking about a plan to conduct a school shooting. “He and Karl had a conversation about conducting a school shooting and he told Karl it was unlikely to occur because it was a small school and the shooter would be stopped in 90 seconds to 4 minutes”.

Tracy Murphy, the debate team head coach, and head librarian, had numerous disciplinary problems with Karl Pierson. He had removed him as Captain of one of the debating teams, and did not re-fill the position for fear of retaliation on that student by Karl Pierson.

arapahoe 1Tracy Murphy relayed his ongoing concerns about this student’s behavior, including violently acting out, verbal abuse, a chilling stare, and a death threat to the Assistant Principal Kevin Kolasa. The Principal, 5 or more teachers, various staff, and Karl Pierson’s mother were also involved in this process, and Karl Pierson was unofficially suspended from school.

Karl Pierson was clearly going after the head Librarian, Tracy Murphy, the day of the shooting. This was his primary and main target. He had verbally threatened to kill Murphy a few days before, and the day of the shooting he was heard yelling “Where are you, Murphy?” On the way to the library, he fired three shots at two girls sitting on a bench against the wall by a trophy case, wounding one girl who would later die. From there he went directly to the library. Tracy Murphy escaped out a back door, leaving Karl without his main target.

There were still students and staff in the library, yet Karl lit one Molotov cocktail and threw it at a shelf full of books. It seemed he had lost the stomach for anymore shooting after killing the one girl. He did take a shot Tracy as he ran out the back door and at another librarian, though. Students ran out of the library or hid in closets, and Karl Pierson took his own life straight away.

Karl Pierson was the only student at the school who had qualified for the national debate tournament. He was intelligent and he had rifle and weapons training. Yet Tracy Murphy, his debate coach, described Karl as “nerdy, socially inept, and clunky”. Karl displayed no leadership skills, and poor decision making. He was verbally abusive to teachers and fellow students.


arapahoe 2ACSO (Arpahoe County Sheriff’s Office Deputy James Englert, the school based resource officer, was made aware of Karl Pierson’s violent acts 9 days before the shooting on December 5, 2013. Karl Pierson returned to school December 9th but was told not to participate in debate team activities for 3 weeks. On December 11th, the Spanish teacher kicked him off of the Spanish club for his violent and abusive behavior.

Karl was also known to possess and distribute a copy of the Anarchist’s Cook Book, a document that explains how to make bombs, etc., including Molotov cocktails. Deputy Englert made it a point to speak to Karl whenever he saw him because he was a known threat. The week of the shooting, Englert spoke to Karl but Karl, for the first time, did not acknowledge him or respond.

Karl most likely had planned the shooting 45 days before, as there were “countdown” type notes written on a calendar, counting the days down to December 13th, beginning in October.

Vicitm Claire Davis
Vicitm Claire Davis

Custodiian Fabian Vildrio Lierenas “first saw Karl when he was near the boiler room, outside of the school. Karl was running toward the building on the north side by the science area. Fabian saw Karl enter the doors on the north side of the building by the gymnasium. Fabian noticed that Karl was carrying a gun, so he aired on the school radio system what he had seen. Fabian then heard two shots followed by a third shot from inside the school. Fabian got into his truck and called 911. Then he met up with Tracy Murphy coming from the rear exit in the library who told Fabian he had been shot at.

Although Karl shad brought a shotgun, 125 rounds of ammunition, bandoliers filled with shotgun shells, a machete, and 3 homemade Molotov cocktail bombs, it was apparent that his main target was the head Librarian, Tracy Murphy, who was also the debate team head coach who had removed him as a team Captain.

Karl fired three shots at the two girls sitting on a bench in the hallway, then he went into the Library saying “Where the fuck is Murphy”. Karl spotted him and took a shot at Murphy and missed. Murphy ran out the back door. Karl took another shot at another librarian. He lit a Moltov cocktail and threw it at a shelf of books. Then he shot himself dead.

Deputy James Englert, the school's armed resource officer, received the County medal of valor and a national award of valor and an exceptional service award for being there outside the door.
Deputy James Englert, the school’s armed resource officer, received the County medal of valor and a national award of valor and an exceptional service award for being there in the vicinity.


Deputy Englert was eating lunch when he heard the custodian Fabian yelling “lockdown – lockdown –  lockdown” over the radio. He called the emergency in to the ACSO communications center and requested assistance. He advised people there was an active shooter. Then he ran towards the library. He saw the smoke.

Deputy Englert unholstered his gun and ran towards the library. Deputy Englert was listening for shots.” At no time in his report did he state he had ever heard any, meaning that it was already over by the time he got anywhere near the library. A guy named Rod Mauler, a school security officer, met Deputy Englert and asked him if he heard the last shot.

Tracy Murphy, the head librarian and head coach of the debate teams
Tracy Murphy, the head librarian and head coach of the debate teams

Then Englert saw Claire Davis on the floor near the trophy case. She was shot and bleeding, but still alive. Deputy Englert arranged for others to take Claire out of the building. Englert was lingering outside the library by the injured student.

Now the first responders, fire rescue and more deputies were arriving. While Deputy Englert waited outside the library for back-up, Assistant Principal Kevin Kolasa, unarmed, entered the library and started putting out the fires. “Kevin saw smoke in the library and he entered the library, where he observed two fires.”

Kevin Kolasa initially “went down the hallway behind Rod and Deputy Englert. Kevin (entered the library through a side door and) dumped water on the bookcase and put a vase on the Molotov cocktail to suffocate the flame.”

“Deputy Englert was still trying to locate the threat. He directed Rod (Mauler) to take Claire out the south doors by the Study Center. Rod and Darrell carried Claire down the hall to responders from Littleton Fire Rescue.”

“ACSO Deputies Rob Bratsch  and James Mason arrived on the scene”

Assistant Principal Kevin Kolasa, the unarmed man who actually went straight into the Danger Zone
Assistant Principal Kevin Kolasa, the unarmed man who actually went straight into the Danger Zone

Englert heard over the school radio system that the fires were out in the library. Deputy Englert decided they needed to go into the library. They started toward the library.”

Deputy Englert, the armed school resource officer, stayed out of the library and waited for back-up, while the unarmed Assistant Principal entered the library and tended to the fires. It wasn’t until the fires were out that Deputy Englert entered the library, with back-up. He followed procedure.

Karl Pierson, the shooter, was dead before any of the security people got anywhere near the library. There was no good guy with a gun that saved the day and prevented further injuries or deaths. It was the same thing with the shooting at Columbine High School in nearby Littleton. They had resource officers who were outside the school eating lunch.

131213185313-13-arapahoe-denver-post-restricted-horizontal-gallery lyThere was no good guy with a gun who stopped the bad guy with a gun. This is a complete fiction manufactured by gun worshippers and the NRA. Reasonable and responsible gun-owners, on the other hand, the non-patriots, I suppose, know that this is a fiction and they know that we as a society need to control who is allowed to have access to firearms, especially the more deadly firearms. We need to find ways to keep firearms out of the hands of unstable, volatile, and mentally ill people.

So-called gun free zones, such as schools, churches, movie theaters, malls and schools, will always be targeted by would-be mass killers, because that’s where the people are. If people are allowed to have concealed firearms in these areas, the shooters will only change their tactics to be more stealthy and open fire more suddenly. They usually are not afraid to kill or to die.

These incidents are usually sudden and unexpected, and are over in minutes. The main damage is usually done before anyone even has time to react.

Those carrying concealed weapons are going to protect themselves, they are not going to run into a madman firing on a crowd and save us all. They are not going to confront an active shooter head-on. They are going to get themselves and theirs out of the situation.

Sandy Hook Elementary memorial
Sandy Hook Elementary memorial

That’s not to mention all the problems with “good guys” mistaking who is the actual shooter and shooting an innocent person, teachers faced with the prospect of shooting 12 year-olds to death, and others caught in the cross-fire. Getting rid of gun-free zones is not an answer and good guys with guns will never be our heroes. It’s just yet another fiction by gun worshippers and the NRA designed to sell firearms and continue to do nothing about a serious societal problem.

This is to say nothing about recent events in the news: A two year-old went into his mother’s purse and shot her to death with her own gun in a supermarket. A hate mongrel–imbecile with a gun, shot 3 Muslim students to death execution style, supposedly over a parking space.

patriot 2Young kids in school need to be taught about the dangers of people who are imbalanced, how to spot them and how to seek help if they’re one of them. They need to be taught how to get along and cooperate, and how to resolve conflicts peacefully. They need to learn how to control their emotions, before they grow up to be hotheads, fools, and unstable people like a Michael Dunn, a George Zimmerman, an Adam Lanza, a Joe Hendrix, an Adele Bing, A Melissa Ringhardt, or a Craig Hicks.

Perhaps we should also be cautious of a Matt MacBradaigh who humbly calls himself a Patriot, as usually it is up to others to decide whether a person is a Patriot or not.

The 2nd Amendment is here to stay, but we need to regulate that so-called militia a little bit, now and then, in the name of the public safety. That way maybe more of us can live long enough to benefit from a strong 2nd Amendment right and all our Constitutional rights.


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